Title

Plant functional traits of dominant native and invasive species in Mediterranean-climate ecosystems

Document Type

Journal Article

Publisher

Ecological Society of America

School

School of Natural Sciences/Centre for Ecosystem Management

RAS ID

21315

Comments

Originally published as: Funk, J. L., Standish, R. J., Stock, W. D., & Valladares, F. (2015). Plant functional traits of dominant native and invasive species in Mediterranean-climate ecosystems. Ecology 97(1), 75-83. Original article available here.

Abstract

The idea that dominant invasive plant species outperform neighboring native species through higher rates of carbon assimilation and growth is supported by several analyses of global data sets. However, theory suggests that native and invasive species occurring in low- resource environments will be functionally similar, as environmental factors restrict the range of observed physiological and morphological trait values. We measured resource- use traits in native and invasive plant species across eight diverse vegetation communities distributed throughout the five mediterranean-climate regions, which are drought prone and increasingly threatened by human activities, including the introduction of exotic species. Traits differed strongly across the five regions. In regions with functional differences between native and invasive species groups, invasive species displayed traits consistent with high resource acquisition, however, these patterns were largely attributable to differences in life form. We found that species invading mediterranean-climate regions were more likely to be annual than perennial: three of the five regions were dominated by native woody species and invasive annuals. These results suggest that trait differences between native and invasive species are context dependent and will vary across vegetation communities. Native and invasive species within annual and perennial groups had similar patterns of carbon assimilation and resource use, which contradicts the widespread idea that invasive species optimize resource acquisition rather than resource conservation. © 2016 by the Ecological Society of America.

DOI

10.1890/15-0974.1

Access Rights

Not open access